Sometimes it’s the little things you do that help build loyalty, and I’ve made a vow to come up with more ways to reward my visitors — particularly the ones who continue to add value to my blog and forum.
With the emergence of the social networking scene, developing connections and acknowledging regular contributors is an important part of marketing (particularly if you’re a blogger).
Having said that, I thought I’d discuss a few of the ways people publicly reward their visitors…
EntreCard – Top Droppers
Many EntreCard members make the occasional post to their blog with a list of their top EntreCard droppers.
If you aren’t familiar with EntreCard, it’s a free service that allows you to promote your blog by dropping your card (a 125×125 image) on other blogs.
You earn credits for every “drop” you make and you can use those credits to buy advertising space on other blogs.
I haven’t posted a list of my top droppers as of yet. On one hand, I like the idea, but on the other, it opens the door for a bunch of empty drops by people looking to make my “Top Dropper” list.
Nevertheless, it can be a good way to build up loyalty.
I read every comment posted here and often follow them to view the person’s blog. But I pay even more attention to the people who take the time to craft insightful posts.
Blog comments are important because they make a blog look active and they encourage participation from other readers. So I appreciate it greatly when people take the time to make a thoughtful comment.
WordPress has a plugin that allows you to display the top commenters as a widget on your sidebar. While that’s a very generous thing to do, you still have to monitor rewards like this very closely.
People are competitive, and any time there’s a reward for quantity, some take advantage of that and the quality of the content begins to suffer. So you have to evaluate if it’s worth implementing.
Your top commenters may not always be your best contributors. Personally, I’d much rather reward someone with a few good comments than someone else with a bunch of empty ones who is just looking for first billing on my widget.
As an EntreCard member you can now earn credits for leaving comments on SezWho-enabled blogs. The catch is you only earn credits for quality comments.
This keeps people from flooding other blogs with quick comments like “nice post” or “great info”, just to drive up their credit totals.
Just for the record, this blog uses SezWho, so if you’re an EntreCard member, get to commenting and earn those credits. 😉
vBulletin – Top Posters
While the quantity vs. quality issue could come into play here as well, I’m not as concerned about that with my forum due to the high number of regular, quality contributors.
As many of you know, it takes a lot of work to build and maintain an forum active, and I am truly grateful to the active members who have helped Website Babble grow.
My forum is nowhere as active as Digital Point or ABestWeb, but for someone who has launched 3 forums that failed in the past, you won’t hear me complaining.
When I first launched Website Babble, I held 2 contests and gave away cash prizes ($300 and $150 respectively) to the the MVP (Most Valuable Posters).
I do believe that incentive helped my forum grow in the early days, and I do have plans to offer more prizes in the near future.
The great thing about this reward was that it was based on quality of posts, not quantity.
Even though I had to manually review several posts to determine who was eligible for the contest, it was worth it. It’s important to recognize and give back to quality contributors.
You can join my forum here. I’d love to get to know you.
If you’re thinking of starting your own forum, think of ways you can reward your members. It doesn’t haven’t to be money. Perhaps it’s free advertising space on your blog, or you could give away EntreCard credits.
Public Response to Tweets
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net is good at this. Anytime someone poses a question on Twitter that he feels is best answered publicly on his blog, he’ll post a link to the person’s Twitter account in the post.
When you get a link from a blog with over 50,000 RSS readers, you’re bound to get some kind of reward, even if it’s just a few extra Twitter followers.
I just started using my Twitter account in the last week to announce my blog posts, and plan to come up with more useful ways to interact with my followers.
The bottom line is people love to be recognized, and it’s important to show your audience that you appreciate their support.
Do you reward your visitors? If so, how do you do it?